Dickerson offers up lineup tips
By John Mehno
For the Mirror
PITTSBURGH — Clint Hurdle often jokes that he can count on picking up some lineup suggestions when he visits his neighborhood grocery store.
It seems like everyone from the produce guy to the lady ordering at the deli counter to the bagger has an idea about the Pirates to share.
Sometimes the suggestions come after he arrives at the ballpark, too.
Such was the case with the recent move of Corey Dickerson to the leadoff spot. Dickerson batted there again Tuesday against Washington, one night after he went 2-for-5 and sparked the Pirates’ three-run rally in the first inning.
The spot has been opened by Josh Harrison’s extended slump, and Dickerson volunteered to bat first.
“I had a lot of experience with it at Tampa,’ Dickerson said. “I was comfortable with it.”
Dickerson said that apart from the plate appearance that starts things in the first inning, hitting leadoff isn’t that different than hitting anywhere else in the order. That’s why he felt comfortable making the suggestion to Hurdle.
“I kind of mentioned it to him, why not let me do it,” Dickerson said. “After a few days, he decided to do it. All year, Clint was more about wanting me to have a good year and feel comfortable. He didn’t want to mess with me.”
n Hurdle said he’s been encouraged by the recent work of righthanded relievers Kyle Crick and Edgar Santana.
He was happy with the way Santana bounced back from Saturday’s game, in which he surrendered the tie-breaking hit in relief of Jameson Taillon.
“That shows maturity,” Hurdle said. “He doesn’t have a lot of experiences to draw back to like maybe some other relievers do. We have some young men out there who don’t. I was really proud of the way he was able to push back after the Saturday game.”
Hurdle said that both pitchers have shown good fastball execution, and that Crick has gained confidence from the success he’s had.
n Francisco Cervelli did some pre-game work at first base. He fielded ground balls and practiced making throws to second base.
Cervelli played five games at first base with the New York Yankees in 2014, and made two appearances there with the Pirates in 2016.
If the Pirates move David Freese at the trade deadline, Cervelli could be an option to back up at first base.
Cervelli has also played third base (four games) and second base (two games) in his major league career.
n Cervelli was involved in an odd incident in Monday’s game that led to both benches and bullpens emptying.
The Nationals’ Adam Eaton was arguing a pitch call with umpire Gabe Morales. Cervelli walked away from the plate, and Eaton accused him of escalating the situation with Morales.
“(Cervelli was) kind of making it a bigger deal than it was,” Eaton told mlb.com. “I don’t know why (he) had to walk away. It is what it is, and we moved on.”
Order was quickly restored and Cervelli shrugged off the incident.
“He was fighting with the umpire,” Cervelli said. “I had nothing to do with that.”
n Righthander Alex McRae was optioned back to Class AAA Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Joe Musgrove, who started Tuesday’s game.
McRae was with the Pirates for three days without getting into a game.
Musgrove had been on the disabled list with a finger infection.
n This afternoon’s 12:35 p.m. game will be televised on Facebook Watch.
The Pirates announcers will only be working on radio.